The statement of purpose is probably one of the most important parts of your application because it defines who you are in both academic and personal uniqueness. It is the only document they have to observe your style of writing and personal qualities.
A well-written SOP is an extremely significant element during your admission process. While the academic record and other exam scorecards, academic transcripts and backlog certificates are essentially objective in nature, an SOP is the only truly subjective aspect of your application. It is the only document in your application that gives you the opportunity to prove that you have something unique which makes you stand out from the crowd. As such, it is the document of your application docket that can hugely determine your admission.
Many universities are looking for a good fit for their program. By reading a student’s statement of purpose, they can determine if the student’s interests and qualifications match what the program needs. Below are a few sample essay questions from various universities’ websites. While the wording may vary between each university, most of them say and require the same information.
“Please provide a statement describing your field of interest and the objectives of your educational program and professional career. This may include specific programs within your chosen major/field of study.”
– Texas A&M University
“Applicants must submit a brief (maximum two pages) personal statement describing his/her educational background, special interests, and reasons for wanting to enter into graduate studies in the geosciences at the University of Utah. If the applicant has previously communicated or interacted with particular faculty members in this department and/or has contemplated the possibility of working with a particular professor on a graduate research project, that information should be included in the personal statement.”
– University of Utah
“In 750 to 1,000 words, state your professional plans and career objectives (Goal Statement). Please include your personal qualities and development and how they have influenced your career choice; your reasons for this particular degree in relation to your academic background, professional work experience, and career goals; and your reason for selecting your program.”
– George Mason University
Be sure to mention specific professors you would like to work with. They should be those you have been in contact with during the application process.
If appropriate, include interest in receiving funding through research or teaching assistantships.
How to Write a Statement of Purpose?
As a pivotal document for any study abroad application, an SOP needs to be precisely well-written. To help you understand the different elements of this document, we have curated a step-by-step procedure that you can follow to curate an impressive statement of purpose.
The first step in the process of drafting a statement of purpose is to think about the varied aspects of your candidature that you should mention in it. The mandatory inclusions of an SOP are academic achievements (especially at the undergraduate level), prior work exposure or volunteering experiences. Start with framing an outline for the document and ask yourself the following questions:
- Which field of study excites me the most?
- Why do I want to pursue this degree?
- What are my expectations from this degree?
- What outgrowth can this degree offer me?
- Where can this degree take me, personally and professionally?
- Through my pre-requisites, what values can I add to this program?
Once you have made key pointers for most of the questions mentioned above, you can begin jotting them down in a thorough and comprehensive manner.
Now that you know what you want to mention in your SOP, it’s time to curate a rough outline for the document. Here is a list of some essential tips you need to keep in mind while formulating your statement of purpose:
- Since the admission committee strives to understand your candidature through the SOP, you need to be honest in describing your career aspirations and objectives. Focus centrally on maintaining the authenticity of your mentioned details. Duly elaborate on your advantageous perception of the chosen course.
- Creatively cite your personal and professional interests. Mention what you are passionate about and what excites you. Then, sensibly connect it with your chosen program and how it will assist you in grooming your skills. For instance, you can state that you are aspiring to gain experiential learning or training in your desired industry through the course.
- What brought you here should be a sure-shot mention in your SOP. You can begin by stating those features of your chosen course that convinced you to opt for it. Then, write down the objectives you want to fulfil by studying the program. It can be personal growth or professional upliftment or even both. Try to be unique and precise when listing your reasons.
3. Revise and Modify
Once you have jotted down your SOP as per the above-mentioned necessary tips, the final and concluding step is to revise and make changes accordingly. Go through the list that you created in the beginning and ensure that you have added all of them.
- The word limit for a statement of purpose is between 500-and 1000.
- Do not miss out on the predefined sizes for spacing, margins and font size.
- Try getting a second opinion but getting your SOP read from a friend or an experienced professional.
What Do Colleges Look for in an SOP?
Many foreign and even national universities ask for a Statement of Purpose (SOP) from candidates wanting to enrol in suitable courses that the university has to offer. They ask for the SOP from candidates in order to check and look at the following things:
- The writing capabilities of the writer or the candidate
- The X factor that makes their writing stand out from the crowd
- Choice of thoughts and ideas that has been explained in the SOP
- The unique personality of the candidate
- Candidate’s talent, previous experiences, interests and potential
- How and what can the candidate contribute to the department of the college/university
- Candidate’s motivation or inspiration to study a selected course must be evident and justified
- The reason behind to choose a particular university/college and a particular course of study
- Academic and extracurricular achievements and recognitions (if any)
- Originality and clarity of the SOP as a whole.